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Dinosaur more than just bones

The view overloooking Echo Park in Dinosaur. The Utah side of the Dinosaur National Monument has the dinosaur fossils that the monument is named for, and visitors can view a mountainside of dinosaur bones at the park's quarry.
Michelle Balleck

Dinosaur may only have about 320 people, but that doesn’t mean there’s nothing to do in the tiny town in western Moffat County.

The town sits at the entrance to Dinosaur National Monument, a place some residents call “a miniature Grand Canyon.”

The monument straddles the Colorado-Utah border.



The Utah side of the monument has the dinosaur fossils that the monument is named for and visitors can view a mountainside of dinosaur bones at the park’s quarry.

But Dinosaur residents say people would be making a mistake if they skipped the Colorado side and went straight for the bones.



“A lot of (tourists) are more interested in the bones,” said Sarah Woolery, a travel Counselor at the Colorado Welcome Center in Dinosaur. “They don’t understand the beautiful canyon land that’s north of Dinosaur.”

Woolery, who has lived in Dinosaur for 15 years, said visitors need to make the drive to Echo Park to see the canyon overlooks.

The entrance into the monument on Harper’s Corner Drive offers visitors spectacular views of the area’s rock formations.

About 20 miles down the 30-mile road is a vehicle pull out that offers views of Echo Park, which is the confluence of the Green and Yampa Rivers.

With strong legs or a vehicle with high clearance, visitors can get down to Echo Park, which is a popular camping spot.

For a detailed report of recreational opportunities at the monument, visitors should first stop by the Colorado Welcome Center in Dinosaur off U.S. Highway 40 and the Dinosaur National Monument Visitor Center at the park entrance.

Woolery said the Colorado Welcome Center, which has maps and brochures, also is a good starting point for visitors who plan to tour the rest of Colorado.

The town of Dinosaur has a few tributes to the reptiles that used to roam the area. There are dinosaur statues in town and a Dinosaur footprint at the welcome center.


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